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Fri 20 Apr 2012 10:14 AM

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UK politician says Bahrain F1 must be called off

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper says British drivers should pull out of event

UK politician says Bahrain F1 must be called off
Labours Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

The UK's shadow home secretary has called for the Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled amid continuing violent protests in the Gulf kingdom.

Yvette Cooper said British Formula One stars Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton should not take part in the controversial three-day event.

Speaking on BBC's Question Time TV programme on Thursday night, she said: "It shouldn't go ahead, I don't think British drivers should go, I think the Formula One should not go ahead in Bahrain.

"You have got demonstrations by democratic protesters who have been violently suppressed and although it should be a matter for the sport to decide rather than for the Government, I do think government ministers can express an opinion. That opinion should be it should not go ahead, it would send the wrong signal, it should not happen."

Cooper joins a growing number of politicians and human rights campaigners who have called on organisers to pull the plug on the event.

Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch criticised the decision to go ahead with the Bahrain Grand Prix, claiming it gives Bahrain’s rulers the opportunity "to obscure the seriousness of the country’s human rights situation".

The event was cancelled in 2011 because of political unrest.

“Formula One promoters say their decision to race in Bahrain should not be derailed by political considerations, but the ruling family will attempt to portray the decision as a political statement of support for its repressive policies,” said Tom Porteous, deputy programme director at US-based Human Rights Watch.

Respect MP George Galloway has also said the tracks of the Middle Eastern race circuit were "stained by the blood of the people who are asking for a vote".

On Thursday, Force India tightened up their security procedures after petrol bombs were thrown near a car taking staff back to their hotel from the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit.

The team said two staff, one a data engineer and the other a radio contractor, had decided to return home to Britain after the incident but there was no question of pulling out of a race.

Although only one petrol bomb was mentioned by a team spokesman, sources indicated there may have been several more that landed on the highway to Manama on Wednesday evening during clashes in a nearby village between anti-government protestors and police.

ukdito 7 years ago

Britain abuses human rights, cancel the Olympics.

H 7 years ago

You should stop talking about Bahrain security and talk about your own after 2 terrorist went on the roof top of Bahrain's embassy in London where is your security concerns on that?????????

Ahmed Yousif 7 years ago

I do support the cancellation of Olympics in London due to human rights issues in supporting ex Bahrainis hooligans living in London. And for the interference by the UK's shadow home secretary towards the development of Bahrain and her people. Bahrain is not in Leeds or Grimsby ....etc.,

Mariam janahi 7 years ago

It's astonishing that Honorable Shadow Home Secretary is so sure of human rights atrosities in Bahrain and is going as far as asking for a sporting event to be stopped. How does she know that the demonstrations are by pro democracy groups? How does she know what the people of Bahrain need or want? As a shadow home secretary I want to ask her where were the police when two hooligans went on the roof of the Bahrain Embassy in London? Isn't the safety and protection of foreign embassies the responsibility of thenpolice? Instead of worrying yourself about the F1 and whether it should be suspended or continued. Please take care of putting your own home in order.

N. Das 7 years ago

Well said Mariam.

Go ahead Bahrain with your F1 and dont listen to these DUMB British MPs.

Viva Bahrain

Josh 7 years ago

Dear All,

Please do not take the political heckling and cackling of a politician who has an immensley high opinion of herself and who probably believes (after all she is surely arrogant enough) that she speaks for Britain. Yvette Cooper has a very unattractive habit - so like many of the current Labour party Politicians - to be self-obssessed with their own importance and any opportunity to grandstand cannot be missed. The F1 in Bahrain is just such an opportunity. She does not speak for the British People, that role lies with the Prime Minister David Cameron and his Cabinet Ministers.

We British value peace and security and have suffered many times from terroist attacks on our homeland and yes we do have a responsibility to protect your Embassy and its staff. However, these were hardly terrorists - they were protestors. They did not threaten or have the means to kill, injure or destroy (only to themselves) so please if you want to present a balanced statemen do not exagerate

One Bahrain 7 years ago

It seems UK politicians have a lot of free time to interfere others business. Dear MPs, you know nothing whats going on in Bahrain. You are supporting terrorists not protesters. You have a lot of issues at home front, therefore, mind your own business and stop interfering others. Who invites you get worried about us.

Ahmed 7 years ago

An anti-government protester has been found dead after clashes overnight with police in Bahrain ahead of Sunday's grand prix.

Time to call it off before more are killed.

tony 7 years ago

what about the terrorists in Syria? Wait, in Syria they strangely become "Freedom fighters".

What hypocrisy!

Calvin Pinto 7 years ago

@tony, Dont compare Syria with Bahrain. The protestors are not bombed r attacked by military weopens, just use of blunt police force to promote peace.

And how is firebombing and burning tyres and attacking people supposed to encompass a peaceful uprising ?